Michigan recruiting mailbag: Replacing Emil Ekiyor, welcoming Hassan Haskins
Have Michigan football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Michigan recruiting mailbag to discuss Wolverines recruiting. This week, we discuss Emil Ekiyor‘s flip to Alabama, the commitment of Hassan Haskins and in-state targets.
Q: Who do you think we’ll get to replace [Emil Ekiyor]? — Douglas Diebold via Facebook
A: As I’m sure everyone is now aware, Emil Ekiyor announced his switch from Michigan to Alabama on Sunday. Ekiyor, a 4-star interior offensive lineman from Indianapolis, had been the highest-rated player in Michigan’s class of 2018 commits. He received his offer from the Wolverines in 2015, a few months after Jim Harbaugh was hired as coach, and committed to them in October of last year.
I don’t know that Michigan will replace Ekiyor directly with another interior offensive lineman. They have candidates to play inside on the roster now but depth in the coming years is always a concern. They recently offered Jarrett Patterson, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound, 3-star tackle from Mission Viejo, Calif., who has committed to Arizona State. Patterson has said he is willing to listen to Michigan and could be persuaded to come on an official visit. The 2019 class appears to be off to a good start with 4-star tackle Nolan Rumler (6-5, 290) of Akron, Ohio, committed.
Q: What about the running back we got? — Timothy Patten via Facebook
A: That running back is Hassan Haskins, rated as a 3-star player by the 247Sports composite, from Eureka, Mo., just outside of St. Louis. He’s 6-1, 202 pounds and, as the highlight clip below shows, he’s a load to bring down. Haskins runs hard and with determination. He is the second running back to commit to the 2018 class, joining Christian Turner of Buford, Ga.
Q: What position do you think we need to address ASAP and build some depth there? — Zel Sevenbandz via Facebook
A: Hi Zel, and thanks for your question. I addressed this a bit with the first answer regarding the Ekiyor flip, but I think offensive line is the position group most in need of depth. It’s tough for any freshman at any position to come in and contribute immediately but especially so on the line of scrimmage. The difference in physical strength from high school to Division I college football is greater than most expect, so technique becomes a greater factor in how quickly a lineman gets into the lineup.
You’re seeing an example this season with how Michigan has used center Cesar Ruiz and redshirt freshman Stephen Spanellis as extra tight ends on occasion. Senior left tackle Mason Cole is the only freshman to start a season opener on the offensive line in Michigan history, and he has a streak of 46 consecutive starts heading into the game against Minnesota on Saturday. Cole is a rarity, especially at Michigan.
Q: I see a lot of interest in quick speedsters at receivers on the radar. Are we focusing more on that than the size? — C’mon Son Harper via Facebook
A: All the above, C’mon Son. It’s a combination of the two, plus being able to run routes well and catch the ball. To say you want one physical trait over the other limits you, in my opinion. One of the issues Michigan receivers have had this season is consistently getting separation from defenders. The Wolverines have plenty of players with speed but everyone at this level runs fast. The four receivers who are freshmen in 2017 [excluding Brad Hawkins, who has been switched to defense] average 6-2½ in height and 202 in weight. Michigan likes the bigger receivers because they need players who can be physical and block in the run game.
For the 2018 class, the Wolverines offered Ja’Marr Chase (6-1, 195) this week and have previously offered Dillon Spaulding (6-1, 216) and Kamryn Babb (6-1, 189). Chase is a 4-star currently committed to Florida. Babb is rated as the No. 9 wide receiver in the country, and most recruiting analysts have him leaning toward Ohio State. Spaulding is a 3-star prospect from Virginia. The top targets in the 2019 class are Kyle Ford (6-2, 200) of Orange, Calif., and Marcus Washington (6-2, 170) of St. Louis.
Q: How’s the 2019 O-line looking in terms of in-state recruits? — Chad Holzgen via Facebook
A: The top-rated player in the state of Michigan in the 2019 class, and the No. 8 player nationally, is 5-star tackle Devontae Dobbs of Belleville. He has visited Michigan this season, plus attended a Michigan camp over the summer, but there isn’t much of a connection between Dobbs and the Wolverines. The same cannot be said about tackle Logan Brown of East Kentwood High School in the Grand Rapids area. Brown is a 4-star prospect who is rated as the No. 3 player in the state and No. 76 nationally.
Brown has visited Michigan this season, and he is a priority for the Wolverines in the 2019 class.
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